The head of the Home Office is under fire for telling staff he is “very proud” of their response to the Windrush scandal, despite victims’ long wait for compensation. Sir Philip Rutnam praised officials for having “served the public in working to put this right”, even as an investigation exposed major failings that forced Amber Rudd’s resignation.
The former home secretary has seized on the report to accuse her staff of a series of leaks that were “definitely intended to embarrass me”, prompting fresh criticism that the Home Office is in chaos.
Meanwhile, the Windrush victims are still waiting to hear how they will be compensated for their suffering. Some have been left destitute after losing jobs, benefits and even homes.
David Lammy, a Labour Windrush campaigner, condemned the email, saying Sir Philip should feel “contrition for his department’s tragedy of errors”.
“So far, the Home Office has failed to provide a penny of compensation or a hardship fund for any of my constituents denied the right to work, deported, detained, made homeless and jobless by the department’s failings.
“Lost records, slow response times, and a lack of empathy continue to characterise too many of my constituents’ interactions with the Home Office.”
The Windrush generation was trapped by Theresa May’s “hostile environment” crackdown, when they were unable to provide the correct documents to employers, landlords and the NHS acting as “de facto border guards”.
Home Secretary Sajid Javid has been criticised for slamming the brakes on a compensation scheme – despite the prime minister promising to act in April – and for planning to cap payments.
In the email, obtained by The Times, Sir Philip wrote: “There are lessons to be learnt following these events but I remain very proud of the way the department responded to Windrush and served the public in working to put this right.” Read more
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